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Bronx Woman Celebrates Mother's Day With New Heart

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It's an extra special Mother's Day weekend for a Bronx woman who was fighting for her life just a few months ago.

Earlier this year, she received a gift that's now enabling her to enjoy being a grandmother as well.

As CBS2's Matt Kozar reported, Loretta Thomas feels lucky to be able to watch her grandson grow up.

The 55-year-old math teacher had an enlarged heart and was taking medicine, but it wasn't enough. She collapsed at school.

"I went into a classroom for a few minutes and I passed out," Thomas recalled. "I went into cardiac arrest.

Thomas needed a new heart.

Health experts estimate 200- to 300,000 people could benefit from a heart transplant every year. But only about 2,400 get one, Kozar reported.

"We are talking about 1 percent of individuals that may benefit from a heart transplant are actually getting it," said Dr. Snehal Patel, cardiologist at Montefiore Medical Center.

Thomas was one of them. She waited just two months before a heart became available.

Thomas' daughter, who is a doctor, had to convince her mother to have the surgery.

Doctors performed the transplant at Montefiore Medical Center in January.

Now, Thomas and her growing family are getting ready to celebrate Mother's Day.

"We try to do more things together," said Thomas' daughter Kim Rutherford. "We try to celebrate all the moments."

"I feel like I've been given another chance, and that there is a purpose for me to be alive," Thomas added.

Thomas does not know who her donor was.

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